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RSPB's Big Schools' Birdwatch launches in Wales

Children across Wales have been learning how to tell their sparrows from their starlings today as part of the RSPB's biggest wildlife survey.

It marks the start of the charity's Big Schools' Birdwatch, which records the types of birds found in and around school grounds.

Sarah Powell went along to a school in the Vale of Glamorgan to see if she could spot any!


Welsh schoolchildren begin Big Schools' Birdwatch

Children at Llangan Primary School in the Vale of Glamorgan learn how to spot birds Credit: Sarah Powell/ITV News

"Seeing it first hand is the single best way to enthuse young people about nature, and by watching birds from their classroom window, they can learn so much" says Tim Wort from RSPB Cymru.

"It's fun, easy and simple to set up, it works for all ages, and even if it's a dull, rainy January day you can still gaze out of the classroom and see a flash of colour."

Children are encouraged to note down birds they see at any one time Credit: Sarah Powell/ITV News

Five of the most common garden birds

The Big Schools' Birdwatch helps to track bird numbers in school grounds, and gives the charity an insight into changes in bird populations.

The results contribute towards the annual Big Garden Birdwatch.

Last year's survey found that the most commonly seen garden birds were:

  • Blackbird
  • Starling
  • Black headed gull
  • Woodpigeon
  • Carrion crow

Schools take part in worlds' biggest wildlife survey

The blackbird was the most commonly seen in school grounds, with 89% of schools seeing an average of 6 Credit: RSPB

From today, children in Wales will be taking part in the world's biggest school wildlife survey.

The survey helps to track bird numbers and gives an insight into populations, with the results contributing to the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch - the world's biggest wildlife survey.

Last year, over 4,500 pupils and teachers across Wales counted the birds in their school grounds, discovering the Blackbird to be the most commonly seen.

It was followed by the Starling in second place, and the Black Headed Gull in third.

The starling was the second most common Credit: RSPB


Volunteer Heroes: The helpers of RSPB Conwy

One of our most high-profile charities, the RSPB, says it depends not just on the volunteer help they receive - but the expertise it brings with it.

Two decades ago, this was the building site for the Conwy tunnel before it was transformed into a wildlife sanctuary - and now volunteers' experiences are being turned into some much-needed help for our birds, too.

Calls for action to stem wildlife decline

The report - the first of its kind in Wales - will be officially launched in Cardiff tonight.

Wales is blessed with some fantastic and unique wildlife, but it is declining, the pressures it faces are growing, and our responses are not ambitious enough. The next decade is a tipping point and we must act in order to make a difference; otherwise we will see the extinction of species at a local level not seen before in Wales.

– Dr Trevor Dines, Plantlife Cymru

We are challenging Welsh Government and Natural Resources Wales to put more of an emphasis on biodiversity, and to put energy and resources into helping wildlife, so that we can better understand the state of nature in Wales.

– Katie-jo Luxton, RSPB Cymru Director

Plants, butterflies and birds in decline

The State of Nature report found that recent environmental changes are having a 'dramatic impact' on the nature of the UK's land and seas. It also found evidence that species with specific habitat requirements are faring worse than those that can better adapt to a changing environment.

Other findings include:

  • Over one in seven plants in Wales are considered threatened
  • 63% of Welsh butterflies are declining
  • More than a third of all woodland species assessed are in decline.
  • The number of breeding upland wading birds, such as curlew, lapwing and golden plover, have declined by more than 75% in recent decades

But the report also found that some species are on the increase, including hen harriers, black grouse and bats.

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